The Last Thing Burma Needs Is the U.S. Military

by | Feb 4, 2021

The Last Thing Burma Needs Is the U.S. Military

by | Feb 4, 2021

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On Sunday night—Monday morning in Burma (or Myanmar)—the Tatmadaw, or military, long noted for its venality and brutality, staged a coup. Troops detained Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s informal head of government, along with other leading members of her party.

Deploying standard State Department-speak, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced: “The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately.”

Then, apparently recognizing that the latter wasn’t likely to happen, the White House promised to “take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed.” This became the first order of business for the Biden administration when Washington got back at work on Monday morning.

In reality, however, there is little that the U.S. can or should do.

The Tatmadaw declared a year-long state of emergency, after which it plans to hold new elections—which no doubt will be rigged. Such democratic retrogression is unfortunate, though many Burmese will barely notice the change.

After a decade of semi-democratic development, the system was going nowhere fast. The military was still in ultimate control of the state and dominated the policies that concerned it most. The civilian authorities, which began with great expectations at home and abroad, lost their humanitarian sheen. Indeed, Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi resolutely defended the military’s brutality against its own people. Once seen as a paragon of democracy, she appeared to go over to “the dark side.”

Thankfully, the situation doesn’t matter much to America, though you wouldn’t know that from the Biden administration’s rhetoric. Blinken warned: “The United States expresses grave concern and alarm.” In truth, virtually nothing in Burma is important enough to cause Americans “grave concern and alarm.” But this was just more State Department boilerplate, since just about every adverse foreign development causes Washington to express “grave concern and alarm.”

Read the rest of this article at The American Conservative.

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